Cuendet, S., Bonnard, Q., Do-Lenh, S., & Dillenbourg, P. (2013). Designing augmented reality for the classroomComputers & Education68, 557-569.


  • Cuendet et al. formulate an augmented reality (AR) learning environment that provides both a foundation of design principles specific to a classroom environment as well as lab-developed AR hardware meant to incorporate these principles.  The authors emphasize the strengths of tangible user interfaces (TUI) afforded by AR and discuss its potential reduction of “orchestration load” if properly integrated into the classroom environment (P. 557).  The targeting of classroom-level usability is the overarching objective for the proposed design principles.  The authors focus on environment intrinsic/extrinsic usability constraints in their design principle formulation (P. 558).
  • The hardware used was a camera-projection system called the TinkerLamp, which contains object tracking capabilities that points downward at a table-top reminiscent of older light projection classroom devices(P. 559).  This hardware was used in three education/vocation-based scenarios; each of which were evaluated using the author’s proposed design principles.  Results were empirically inconclusive in each of the 3 experiments since they were largely uncontrolled (P. 568).  These results were predicted since the authors intentionally avoided lab settings, which would have contradicted the purpose of their classroom-centric design.  The authors were, however, able to illustrate the distinction between a technology that merely contains educational benefits versus one that can be successfully implemented in classroom environments.

 Key Points

  • Strengths of AR technology
    • TUI’s have embodiment/presence capabilities that provide unique sensory information to the user.
  • The importance of understanding and clarifying environmental constraints in order to help clarify AR’s benefits to the classroom
    • Internal constraints are those of standard instructional design, e.g. learning objectives, learner capability variance, subject specifications and requirements.
    • External constraints involve more logistical aspects of a learning environment, e.g. technology, time limitations, budget.  This is often underrepresented in instructional design, but important when discussing AR’s place in the classroom.
  • Viability of classroom vs. lab-tested usability when studying AR technology experiments
    • Experiments in this study were performed in the classroom due to the complexity of a class environment that cannot be replicated in a lab environment.
  • Enabling and ensuring orchestration load reduction through the use of AR technology
    • The purpose of proposed design principles involves incorporating AR technology into a classroom environment in order to deliberately reduce the effort of instructors in appropriate areas of instruction.

 Design Principles

  • Integration
    • The ability to seamlessly transmit the AR technology into fabric of learning environment.
  • Empowerment
    • An extension of integration, the purpose of which is to make sure the use of the AR tech does not detract attention away from the instructor or toward something unrelated.
  • Awareness
    • Maintaining the ability to monitor and evaluate learners throughout the AR tech exercises.
  • Flexibility
    • Variances in the learning environment should not disrupt the function of the tech utilization in the classroom.
  • Minimalism
    • Not overextending the amount of information processing required during the AR exercise, which could thereby cause confusion and other difficulties.

Example Work

  1. Using the TinkerLamp to teach vocational students logistics (P. 560)
  • Interactive model to illustrate warehouse storage/transportation of goods.  Miniature version of storage facility with embedded logistical processes, e.g. raw storage surface, variable forklift speed.
  1. Using Tapacarp to train carpenters (P. 564)
  • Allows 3D object visualization through a projection system, illustrates beam carving angles.
  1. Using Kaleidscope for children learning geometry (P. 566)
  • Geometry-based manipulation through folding paper, with projections to help with   visualization.

Discussion Questions

  1. How well would the aforementioned design principles apply to a Virtual Reality (as opposed to Augmented Reality) in a similar learning environment?
  2. In what ways might the researchers benefit from experimenting in a more controlled lab environment?
  3. Think about your experiences with technology-supported learning environments. What were some specific benefits/drawbacks to the method of employment?

Additional Resources


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